While the main European football season has only just come to an end with the conclusion of the Confederations Cup in Russia, for some clubs next season has already begun. The qualifying fixtures for both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League are already under way, with the first legs of the first qualifying round in both competitions complete.
Smaller clubs from all around the continent will be hoping to cause a shock and progress to the group stage of the tournament. An interesting tie in the first qualifying round of the Europa League, is that concerning Glasgow Rangers of Scotland and Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg.
Rangers were runners-up in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup while Progres Niederkorn have never won a European game in their history. It seems like a total mismatch but could we be in for a surprise?
Having been demoted to the bottom division of Scottish football for the 2012/13 season, Rangers battled their way back up the divisions and made a return to the Scottish Premiership last season at the first time of asking.
The club finished in third place and this secured a place in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.
With Pedro Caixinha now in charge at Ibrox, Rangers were expected to win the first leg of this tie comfortably at home but having taken the lead in the 37th minute, failed to add to their total.
Progres Niederkorn Form
Progres Niederkorn qualified for the first round of the Europa League by finishing fourth in the Luxembourg National Division last season.
This is not the first time they have played in European competition but their experiences have mainly been negative. Progres Niederkorn have failed to win any of their previous 12 matches in Europe, losing 10 and drawing 2 games.
Their best results have come at home, drawing with Glentoran of Northern Ireland in the 1981/82 European Cup and Shamrock Rovers in the 2015/16 Europa League. Progres Niederkorn lost both away legs of those ties and were eliminated from the tournament.
Having done well to restrict Rangers to a single goal in the away leg, Paolo Amodio is unlikely to make many changes to his starting XI for this match. Progres Niederkorn have a mix of mainly French, German and home-grown players to choose from.
Rangers will also play a similar team to the first leg, as new signing Bruno Alves is still unavailable following his involvement in the Confederations Cup with Portugal. Daniel Candeias and Alfredo Morelos will be hoping to make their first starts for the Gers.
Top Betting Tips
As Progres Niederkorn have never won a European match in their history, it is little surprise to see Rangers come in as favourites, priced at 1/4 with Ladbrokes to win the game. If you fancy an upset, the home side can be backed at 9/1.
Progres Niederkorn have seen a total of 15 goals scored in their previous three home matches, scoring 11 and conceding 4. This suggests we could be in for quite an open game, especially as the home team need to score a goal. Rangers will see this is as an opportunity to hit them on the counter attack and Rangers to win, with both teams scoring is on offer at 2/1 with William Hill.
Considering it is so early in the season, Rangers may struggle to get into any sort of rhythm. This could make the match closer than it otherwise would be and you can get 17/2 with Ladbrokes for Rangers to win 2-1.